2015 US Nationals: Day 5 Prelims Live Recap

It’s the final day of 2015 U.S. Nationals and we’re in for some great races in the women’s 100 free and 200 breast, as well as the men’s 200 back and 200 breast. In that men’s 200 breast, we’ll see Michael Phelps in heat 11. After a stellar meet where he’s already put up the world’s fastest times in the 100 fly, 200 fly, and 200 I.M., it should be fun to watch him challenge himself in an off event. Don’t forget to look out for Jack Conger and Jacob Pebley in the 200 back as well.



Veteran Amanda Weir topped the prelims of the women’s 100 free. Her 54.64 was good enough to beat out Allison Schmitt in the final heat this morning. She was also close to her season best of 54.36 from the Pan American Games this summer.

After a day off yesterday following a 200 free victory, Schmitt looked very solid through prelims with a 54.81. She’s been a 54.46, also at Pan Ams this year. Those two women should make tonight’s final interesting. Weir is a sprint specialist, but Schmitt has been making improvements, working her way back to her London 2012 form.

50 free National Champ Madison Kennedy grabbed the 3rd seed for finals with a 55.14, just ahead of 17-year-old Katie Drabot in 55.19. Drabot is having a solid meet after swimming a best time to make the championship final in the 200 free. She was the fastest junior swimmer this morning.

Amanda Kendall (55.35) took 5th over Mallory Comerford, who dropped over 1.5 seconds to finish 6th overall in 55.48. Rounding out the final, Felicia Lee and Faith Johnson hit the wall in 55.51 and 55.54 respectively.


Qualifying first in the 200 back, Dynamo’s Michael Taylor posted the third fastest 15-16 time in American history with a 1:58.41. He now only trails behind the legendary Aaron Peirsol and Ryan Murphy in the all-time rankings.

That moved him ahead of the former 3rd fastest in that age group, Jacob Pebley. Pebley, now a senior at Cal, qualified 4th for finals in 1:58.91 behind Carter Griffin (1:58.51), Jack Conger (1:58.54), and Travis Mahoney (1:58.90). Conger, who has focused more on fly and free lately, previously won World University Games in this event in 2013.

Robert Owen (1:58.92), Austin Katz (1:59.35), and Austin Surhoff (1:59.37) of North Baltimore will round out the A final for tonight. Katz was the Junior National Champion in this event last week and will look to qualify for the Junior World Championships tonight.


Bluefish Swim Club’s Laura Sogar, the bronze medalist in the 100 breast earlier this week, crushed her heat of the 200 breaststroke prelims. Sogar, the postgrad based at Texas, swam the top time of the morning in 2:25.16.

In heat 9, Emma Schoettmer of Tucson Ford hit the wall a whole body length ahead of the competition in 2:26.33. That was a best time by over a second, shattering the 2:27.49 she posted at the 2012 Olympic Trials. The University of Arizona senior will be tonight’s 2nd seed.

Emily Escobedo finished third in 2:27.64, followed by Molly Hannis (2:27.94), Andrea Cottrell (2:28.04), and Esther Gonzales Medina (2:28.09).

Annie Lazor of Auburn hit the wall in 2:28.79 to make the final in the 7th spot, just ahead of Anne Zhu (2:28.86). She came into the morning with the top seed after competing for Team USA at the Pan American Games this summer.

Surprisingly, SwimMAC’s Emma Reaney, the short course American record holder in this event, will not get a 2nd swim after a 2:33.42 this morning.


100 breaststroke national champion Andrew Wilson of Longhorn Aquatics posted the top qualifying 200 breaststroke time of the morning in 2:09.84. That swim moved Wilson into 19th in the FINA world rankings in this event, and makes him the 4th fastest American of 2015.

Wilson’s time will give him lane 4, right next to his summer training partner, Will Licon. Licon dropped a best time of 2:10.10 for the 2nd seed heading into finals ahead of BJ Johnson (2:11.92).

A pair of international swimmers, Craig Benson (2:12.14) and Michael Jamieson (2:12.17), took 4th and 5th. Benson went head-to-head with Michael Phelps this morning in heat 11. Phelps held his own against Benson, proving that he can compete nationally in even his “off events.” He was the 6th fastest qualifier in 2:12.68, smashing his previous best of 2:15.06 from 2007.

Across his career, Phelps has already won national titles in every other stroke. If he chooses to swim the event tonight, he could become the 2nd swimmer in history to have won American national championships in all four strokes.

Mizzou graduate Sam Tierney qualified seventh in 2:12.71, followed by Cal’s Chuck Katis (2:13.11).

Other notable swims include Avon Community’s Chandler Bray’s 2:14.55, the 2nd fastest swim in 15-16 age group history. The 15-16 NAG record holder in that event, Reece Whitley, qualified 10th with a 2:13.42, just a second slower than his NAG record swim from last week’s Juniors.

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Someone better tell Phelps, because here’s what Marco Koch said:

“I’m glad Phelps is doing breaststroke, because breaststroke is truly the only stroke that matters, and when it matters, he will fail. Michael Phelps is a scrub and this breaststroke embarrassment will show the world his true colors. Phelps is nothing more than an arrogant thug who is an embarrassment to himself, his coach, his team and his country, America, which is already the most corrupt and evil country in the world. Give up your comeback Phelps, your time is over, and this breaststroke will show the world your weakness.”

I’m predicting 2:05.9 after that.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mAUY1J8KizU watching Phelps made this springs to mind.


I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this joke in the past few days.


MP’s not swimming, :0

I hope he time trials the 100 and 200 free.


I just checked heat sheets, he’s actually heat 11.


Calling a 2:13.7 for Phelps. 31.2/33.6/34.3/34.5


Actually that may be a bit optimistic, but if Bob the Builder is right then it doesn’t matter anyway.


This is why I don’t do pick’em contests.


In fairness, however, I predicted his last three splits almost on the nose (0.1 off on the last one). I was just a full second off on the first 50.

About Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh is a former NCAA swimmer at the University of Arizona (2013-2015) and the University of Florida (2011-2013). While her college swimming career left a bit to be desired, her Snapchat chin selfies and hot takes on Twitter do not disappoint. She's also a high school graduate of The …

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